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Top 10 Best Beaches In New Jersey - Your Ultimate Guide For 2024

Discover best beaches in New Jersey, Coastal Paradise - Unveiling the Best Beaches and Hidden Gems! Dive into sun-soaked shores, explore vibrant boardwalks, and plan your perfect seaside escape.

Jan 25, 20241 Shares21 Views
Nestled along the Atlantic coastline,Best Beaches In New Jersey'sboast a mesmerizing tapestry of sun-kissed sands, lively boardwalks, and a rich tapestry of coastal charm. From the quaint Victorian elegance of Cape May to the electric energy of Asbury Park, the state's diverse beaches offer an unparalleled blend of relaxation and excitement. New Jersey's coastal stretch is not just a destination; it's a dynamic mosaic where the Atlantic breeze meets a vibrant cultural heartbeat.
Our quest for the best beaches in New Jersey isn't just about sun and surf it's a journey into the soul of the state's coastal havens. We've scoured the shores considering factors like pristine cleanliness, available amenities, and breathtaking scenic beauty. Beyond the sunbathing spots, we've delved into the cultural significance and natural splendors that make each beach a unique gem in the Garden State's crown.

Top 10 Beaches In New Jersey - A Curated List

Brignatine beach
Brignatine beach

1. Brigantine Beach

Wildlife haven & natural oasis. Brigantine'sexpansive sands are a haven for nature lovers. Birdwatch at the Edwin B. Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge, kayak through the saltwater bays, or simply unwind on the serene shoreline.
  • Location - Brigantine
  • Parking - Paid lots and street parking available
  • Pet-friendly -Leashed dogs permitted on specific beaches during off-peak hours.

2. Sea Isle City

Family-friendly charm & peaceful getaway. Nestled between Ocean City and Avalon, Sea Isle City offers a quieter island experience. Enjoy its pristine beaches, charming shops, and laid-back atmosphere. Ride the historic tram, visit the Marine Mammal Stranding Center, or simply bask in the tranquility
  • Location -Sea Isle City
  • Parking - Paid lots and street parking available.
  • Pet-friendly - Leashed dogs welcome on specific beaches during off-peak hours.

3. Asbury Park

Hipster haven & artistic escape. Asbury Park's revitalized boardwalk pulsates with music, art installations, and quirky shops. Stroll along the vibrant scene, catch a concert at The Stone Pony, or relax on the sandy stretch.
  • Location -Asbury Park.
  • Parking - Paid lots and street parking available.
  • Pet-friendly - Leashed dogs permitted on the north end beach during specific hours.

4. Belmar Beach

Vibrant energy & lively boardwalk scene. A classic Jersey Shore experience with a youthful vibe. Belmar boasts a bustling boardwalk, trendy bars, and lively beach atmosphere. Play volleyball, rent kayaks, or simply soak up the energetic scene.
  • Location - Belmar.
  • Parking -Paid lots and street parking available.
  • Pet-friendly - Leashed dogs permitted on the north end beach during specific hours.

5. Manasquan Inlet

Surfer's paradise & hidden gem. Renowned for consistent waves and a laid-back atmosphere, Manasquan Inlet attracts surfers of all levels. Watch pros shred from the jetty, catch some rays on the beach, or explore the charming town.
  • Location - Manasquan.
  • Parking - Metered street parking and paid lots available.
  • Pet-friendly -Leashed dogs permitted on the north end beach during specific hours.

6. Point Pleasant Beach

Family-friendly fun & vibrant nightlife. Boasting Jenkinson's Boardwalk, beachfront dining, and calm surf, Point Pleasant offers something for everyone. Enjoy miniature golf, parasailing, or a scenic ferry ride to Long Beach Island.
  • Location -Point Pleasant Beach.
  • Parking -Paid lots and street parking available.
  • Pet-friendly - Leashed dogs welcome on the north end beach during specific hours.

7. Seaside Heights & Wildwood

Fun-filled & nostalgic. Seaside Heights & Wildwood,boardwalk hotspots buzz with energy - classic amusements, lively bars, and endless beachside games. Ride the Giant Wheel, conquer water slides, or simply people-watch under the neon glow.
  • Location - Seaside Heights & Wildwood.
  • Parking -Paid lots and street parking available.
  • Pet-friendly - Leashed dogs permitted on some beaches during specific hours.

8. Island Beach State Park

Natural beauty & solitude. Untouched barrier island paradise with diverse ecosystems. Birdwatch alongside tidal pools, explore maritime forests, or relax on pristine, uncrowded sands.
  • Location - Seaside Heights.
  • Parking -Paid lots available.
  • Pet-friendly -Leashed dogs welcome on designated beaches.

9. Long Beach Island

A family haven with diverse appeal. 18 miles of pristine coastline offer surfing hot spots, charming towns, and peaceful escapes. Hike Holgate's dunes, explore Barnegat Lighthouse, or simply soak up the sun.
  • Location -Long Beach Island (multiple access points).
  • Parking - Varies by town, some paid lots.
  • Pet-friendly -Leashed dogs permitted on some beaches during specific hours.

10. Cape May Beach

Cape May Beach,Victorian charm & wide, sugar-soft sand. Stroll historic streets, build sandcastles on expansive shores, and catch breathtaking sunrises over the Atlantic.
  • Location -Cape May.
  • Parking -Ample street and paid lots.
  • Pet-friendly - Leashed dogs welcome in the mornings & evenings.

Family-Friendly Beaches - Safe And Fun Options For All Ages

Cape may beach
Cape may beach
Hitting the beach with little ones requires extra planning. Here are some New Jersey havens that prioritizes sandcastle architects and budding mermaidens.

Calm Waters & Gentle Waves

  • Cape May Beach -Shallow waters stretch far out, ideal for wading and building sandcastles. Plus, historical charm keeps adults entertained.
  • Long Beach Island -Choose quieter pockets like Beach Haven or Harvey Cedars for gentle surf and relaxed vibes.
  • Seaside Heights & Wildwood -Head north of the main boardwalk buzz for calmer sections near piers or jetties.

Lifeguards & Safety

  • Island Beach State Park -Lifeguards keep watch over designated swimming areas, while the uncrowded nature minimizes any hustle.
  • Point Pleasant Beach -Lifeguards ensure a safe dip, and Jenkinson's Boardwalk offers family-friendly attractions close by.
  • Belmar Beach -Lifeguards patrol the popular stretch, plus the vibrant atmosphere keeps older kids entertained.

Play Areas & Activities

  • Ocean City -This classic resort town boasts dedicated play areas and arcades, along with a bustling boardwalk filled with family-friendly games.
  • Asbury Park -Asbury Park,revitalized boardwalk features playgrounds, splash pads, and even mini-golf, while the beach itself offers ample space for running around.
  • Brigantine Beach -The Brigantine Beach Community Center has a playground and splash pad, making it a perfect pit stop for energetic kiddos.

Amenities & Conveniences

  • Sandy Hook Beach -Clean restrooms and showers are readily available, along with picnic areas and concession stands. Plus, the historic Fort Hancock and Discovery Center offer educational outings.
  • Avalon & Stone Harbor -Wide, clean beaches offer ample space for spreading out, while nearby towns boast charming cafes and ice cream shops.
  • Sea Isle City -This quieter island gem features clean restrooms and changing facilities, along with picnic areas and a tram for easy beach access.

Safety Measures & Family-Friendly Policies

  • Many beaches have designated "no alcohol" zones or restrictions, promoting a safer environment for families.
  • Some beaches offer specific "family swim hours" with dedicated lifeguard areas for extra peace of mind.
  • Always be mindful of rip currents and check beach flags for safety updates.

Hidden Gems - Exploring Less Crowded Beaches

Holgate Beach, Long Beach Island
Holgate Beach, Long Beach Island
Craving a slice of New Jersey's coastline without the summer frenzy? Venture beyond the bustling boardwalks and discover serene stretches of sand waiting to be explored. Here are a few hidden gems to add to your off-the-beaten-path itinerary.

1. Higbee Beach, Cape May

  • Uniqueness -Located behind dunes, accessible only by a scenic path, Higbee offers seclusion and untouched natural beauty. Gaze at sweeping Delaware Bay views, spot horseshoe crabs, or simply bask in the tranquility.
  • Considerations -No lifeguards, limited facilities, bring essentials like water and snacks. Access via Higbee Beach Road parking lot.

2. Holgate Beach, Long Beach Island

  • Uniqueness -Hike secluded dunes, spot migrating shorebirds, or explore the historic Barnegat Lighthouse. This barrier island paradise offers a glimpse into untouched coastal ecosystems.
  • Considerations -Limited parking, no lifeguards, restrooms available near the lighthouse. Reach it via Beach Haven Inlet or Holgate Needles Boulevard.

3. Island Beach State Park, Seaside Heights

  • Uniqueness -Pristine, uncrowded beaches fringed by maritime forests. Kayak through saltwater coves, birdwatch along tidal pools, or simply relax on the serene shoreline.
  • Considerations -Limited parking, no boardwalk amenities. Access via Route 79 south, follow signs for Island Beach State Park.

4. North Wildwood

  • Uniqueness -Escape the Wildwood crowds and find peace at the quieter northern end of the island. Enjoy calm waves, soft sand, and a slower pace.
  • Considerations -Fewer amenities than central Wildwood, some sections have limited parking. Reach it via Route 78 east, follow signs for North Wildwood.

5. Strathmere

  • Uniqueness -This blink-and-you'll-miss-it town boasts miles of unspoiled beach with minimal crowds. Stroll the historic fishing village, collect seashells, or simply unwind on the peaceful shores.
  • Considerations -Limited parking, no boardwalks or major amenities. Access via Route 78 east, follow signs for Strathmere.
Exploring these hidden gems requires a bit of pre-planning, but the rewards are immeasurable. Pack your adventurous spirit, embrace the solitude, and let the wild beauty of New Jersey's untamed shores captivate you.

Adventure And Activities - Where To Find The Best Surfing, Fishing, And More

Manasquan Inlet
Manasquan Inlet
New Jersey's coastline isn't just about sunbathing and sandcastles. It's a playground for adventure seekers, offering diverse activities for thrill-chasers and nature lovers alike. Gear up and dive into these exciting experiences.


  • Manasquan Inlet -Renowned for consistent waves and a laid-back vibe, Manasquan is a surfer's paradise. Catch some gnarly rides, or take lessons from The Sandbar Surf Shop or East Coast Outfitters.
  • Long Beach Island -From LBI Surfhouse in Ship Bottom to The Hook Surf Shop in Beach Haven, find rentals, lessons, and guided tours for all skill levels. Catch epic swells at The Ledge near Surf City or explore hidden breaks further north.
  • Cape May -Broadway Beach boasts powerful waves and a vibrant surf scene. Hone your skills with Cape May Surf Shack or Cape May Wave Riders, and keep an eye out for the annual Fall Classic Surf Contest in September.


  • Sandy Hook -Cast your line from the iconic Sandy Hook Pier, a fisherman's haven teeming with striped bass, bluefish, and flounder. Rent gear from Tackle Shop by the Sea or join a fishing charter for deep-sea adventures.
  • Brigantine Beach -Brigantine's jetty offers prime fishing spots for weakfish, blackfish, and tautog. Grab bait and tackle at The Reel Seat, or hop on a fishing charter from Captain Joe's Charters for an offshore expedition.
  • Sea Isle City -The pristine waters around Sea Isle Cityare teeming with flounder, sea bass, and even sharks. Rent a kayak from Paddle Out Adventures and explore the backwaters, or cast a line from the Fishing Center pier.

Snorkeling & Diving

  • Sea Girt Reef -This artificial reef near Manasquan Inlet is a vibrant underwater haven for colorful fish, anemones, and even sea turtles. Join a snorkeling or diving tour with Aqua Quest Charters or Seatrek Scuba to explore its wonders.
  • Edwin B. Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge -Brigantine's protected bays offer excellent snorkeling opportunities. Spot diamondback terrapins, seahorses, and diverse fish species with Brigantine Kayak Company or The Jersey Shore Scuba Club.
  • Belmar Beach -The Belmar Jetty attracts a variety of marine life, making it a hidden gem for snorkeling. Rent gear from Belmar Watersports or join a guided tour with Jersey Shore Kayak & SUP for a closer look.

Beach Volleyball

  • Ocean City -The famous Ocean City Boardwalk hosts countless volleyball courts, buzzing with competitive energy and casual games. Grab a group of friends and join the pick-up games, or sign up for a beach volleyball tournament in the summer months.
  • Asbury Park -From the lively beaches near The Stone Pony to the dedicated courts at Bradley Park, Asbury Park offers ample space for beach volleyball enthusiasts. Rent equipment from Asbury Surf Shop or participate in the annual Asbury Park Beach Volleyball Open in July.
  • Seaside Heights & Wildwood -Seaside Heights & Wildwood, classic Jersey Shore destinations offer plenty of public courts and volleyball-friendly beaches. Spike the ball with friends, or watch skilled players at the Wildwood Crest Beach Volleyball Classic held in August.

Best Times To Visit

New Jersey's beaches offer unique experiences throughout the year, catering to diverse interests and preferences. Here's a breakdown of what each season brings.

Summer (June-August)

  • Crowds and sunshine -The peak season! Boardwalks buzz with life, beaches teem with sunbathers, and festivals keep the party going.
  • Water activities - Surfing, swimming, kayaking, and boat tours are at their peak. Enjoy warm waters and long beach days.
  • Family fun -Amusement parks, carnival rides, and kid-friendly events abound. Summertime is all about making memories on the Jersey Shore.
  • Drawbacks -High prices, crowded beaches, and scorching temperatures can be overwhelming. Lifeguard presence is at its peak, but some amenities may have reduced hours.

Fall (September-November)

  • Golden hues and cooler weather -The crowds thin, the ocean breeze turns crisp, and the beaches wear stunning autumnal colors.
  • Fishing haven -Fall brings optimal conditions for fishing, with striped bass and bluefish migrating down the coast.
  • Peaceful escape -Enjoy quiet walks, beachcombing, and birdwatching on deserted stretches of sand.
  • Beware -Some beachside businesses and amenities begin to wind down towards November. Lifeguard services might be limited.

Winter (December-February)

  • Tranquil solitude -Beaches become remote havens for nature lovers. Witness breathtaking sunrises and enjoy the serene beauty of the winter coast.
  • Unique wildlife -Whale and dolphin sightings increase as they migrate south. Bundle up and scan the horizon for these majestic creatures.
  • Storm watching -Experience the awe-inspiring power of winter storms from the safety of the beach. Dress warmly and be aware of potential coastal warnings.
  • Limited access -Be prepared for some beach closures due to weather conditions or off-season maintenance. Most amenities are shut down.

Spring (March-May)

  • Rebirth and renewal -The coast comes alive with blooming wildflowers and migrating birds. Spring brings a fresh energy and a slower pace.
  • Wholesome activities -Hike dunes, kayak calm waters, or participate in beach clean-up events. Enjoy the rejuvenating atmosphere.
  • Festivals and events -Spring awakens with lively events like kite festivals and seafood celebrations. Discover the local charm of the Jersey Shore.
  • Shoulder season advantage -Fewer crowds, pleasant weather, and lower prices make spring a perfect time to visit before the summer rush. However, some amenities may have limited hours.

Best Time To Visit For Specific Activities

  • Sunbathing and swimming -Summer
  • Surfing -Fall and spring
  • Fishing -Fall and winter
  • Birdwatching -Fall and winter
  • Whale watching -Winter
  • Avoiding crowds -Fall, spring, and shoulder seasons within summer
  • Budget travel -Spring and fall

Beachside Dining And Shopping

Beachside dining
Beachside dining
New Jersey's beaches aren't just about sandcastles and sunbathing. They're also a sensory feast, buzzing with delicious eats and enticing shops waiting to be explored. Let's dive into the delectable delights and charming treasures you can find along the Jersey Shore.

Dining Dreams

  • Boardwalk Bites -Dive into classic Jersey fare like boardwalk fries piled high with cheese, juicy hot dogs snapped to perfection, and crispy corn dogs dipped in creamy mustard. Don't miss the iconic Kohr's frozen custard at Ocean City or Mac's famous pizza in Seaside Heights.
  • Beachside Breezes -Savor fresh seafood with stunning ocean views. Indulge in succulent lobster rolls at Cape May's Lobster House or plump clams on the half-shell at The Clam Stand in Long Branch.
  • Upscale Oceanfront -Pamper your palate with fine dining by the sea. The Sea Grill at Atlantic City's Borgata Hotel Casino offers impeccable seafood dishes with panoramic views, while The Lobster Shanty in Cape May serves elegant surf-and-turf amidst nautical charm.
  • Local Flavors -Go beyond the classics and sample Jersey's culinary gems. Try creamy clam chowder in Asbury Park, sink your teeth into a juicy pork roll sandwich in Trenton, or grab a homemade sticky bun from Margate's Shriver's Salt Water Taffy.

Shopping Spree

  • Boardwalk Buzz -From kitschy souvenirs to colorful beach towels, boardwalk shops are treasure troves of fun finds. Score the perfect souvenir T-shirt, personalize a bucket hat with your name, or grab a pair of neon sunglasses for instant beach cred.
  • Local Artisans -Discover unique Jersey Shore creations at charming street fairs and craft markets. Admire hand-painted beach bags, pick up seashell jewelry, or find the perfect piece of driftwood art to decorate your home.
  • Beach Gear Bonanza -Gear up for your seaside adventures at dedicated surf shops and beach supply stores. Find the perfect surfboard for catching waves, snag a stylish swimsuit for soaking up the sun, or grab waterproof phone cases and beach toys for family fun.
  • Boutique Delights -Stroll through quaint coastal towns and browse charming boutiques for unique finds. Pick up beach-themed home decor, discover locally-made soaps and candles, or treat yourself to a piece of Jersey-inspired jewelry.
Bonus Tip -Many beach towns host special events throughout the year, featuring local food vendors and artisans. Check event calendars for dates and locations to experience the full culinary and shopping bounty of the Jersey Shore!
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